Interesting travel facts about South Africa and its Holidays

Facts about travel, holidays and the tourism industry

Tourism began on July 5, 1841, when Thomas Cook organised a train trip from Market Harborough to Loughborough in Europe for a temperance meeting.

The San Alfonso del Mar resort in Chile has the world’s largest swimming pool in the world. It holds 66 million gallons of water.

Las Vegas, Nevada has the most hotel rooms of any city in the world.

The shortest flight available for purchase lasts two minutes and runs from the Scottish island of Westray to Papa Westray.

And the longest flight in the world is from Sydney to Dallas. It lasts around 16 hours and covers approximately 8,500 miles.

The largest hotel in the world is the Izmailovo Hotel in Russia. It could accommodate over 7,500 guests.

All the money that is tossed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain is collected each night and donated to multiple charities.

His first foreign trip was a six-day stay in Paris in 1861, where the British tourists were greeted by band music and a cannon salute on arrival.

Travel can help improve your problem-solving skills.

The most expensive hotel room in the world costs $83,200 a night at the Royal Penthouse Suite in Geneva at Hotel President Wilson.

One out of eight jobs in the U.S. depends on travel and tourism.

Taking a vacation can lower your risk of heart disease.

Studies show that money spent on travel makes you happier than money spent on material goods.

Benefits of travel are almost immediate. After only a day or two, 89% of people experience significant drops in stress.

Travel has been shown to help aid those suffering from depression.

And travel has been shown to promote overall brain health.

Couples who travel together have reported increased feelings of intimacy.

The U.S. is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday.

Austrian citizens are said to have the most vacation time of any country.

Austria guarantees workers a legal minimum of 22 paid vacation days and 13 paid holidays each year.

And the most visited city in the world, as of 2013 data, is Bangkok.

Honolulu is the only place in the U.S. that has a royal palace.

Russia produces the most oxygen in the world.

Travel can make you more creative.

Travel can also make you smarter.

France is the most visited country in the world.

And the most visited city in the world, as of 2013 data, is Bangkok.

Honolulu is the only place in the U.S. that has a royal palace.

Russia produces the most oxygen in the world.

France covers the most time zones. (12)

With more than 3 million lakes, Canada has the most lakes in the world.

Mongolia is the least densely populated place in the world. There are four people per square mile.

Niger has the youngest population of any country.

And India is the most diverse country in the world.

Monaco is smaller than Central Park in New York City.

Papa New Guinea has the largest number of languages spoken.


The U.S. has the largest number of citizens behind bars.

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta is the world’s busiest airport.

There are 61,000 people in the air over the U.S. at any given time on any given day.

Canada has the most educated population in the world, with 50% of the population being educated at the post-secondary level.

99% of Libya is a desert.


Unique facts about South Africa

There are more than 1 500 plant species on Table Mountain. This represents more floral species than the whole of the United Kingdom.

South Africa is responsible for the generation of two-thirds of the continent’s electricity.

South Africa is now the only country in the world to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket and Rugby World Cup!

Table Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world and one of the planet’s 12 main energy centres, radiating magnetic, electric or spiritual energy.

The Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the world’s six floral kingdoms – and the only one which is wholly contained within a single country.

Some countries have deserts; some have subtropical forests, right? South Africa has: deserts, wetlands, grasslands, bush, subtropical forests, mountains and escarpments.

South Africa’s drinking water is rated 3rd best in the world for being “safe and ready to drink”.

Water is not all there is to drink in this thirsty country! South Africa’s Cape Winelands have around 560 wineries and 4 400 primary producers. Included in the Cape Winelands region is Route 62, considered the longest wine route in the world. That alone is

Included in the Cape Winelands region is Route 62, considered the longest wine route in the world. That alone is

Included in the Cape Winelands region is Route 62, considered the longest wine route in the world. That alone is

That alone is good reason to visit South Africa if you haven’t yet been!
What about beer?

South African brewery SABMiller ranks – by volume – as the largest brewing company in the world.

South Africa is the only country in the entire world that has voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons programme.

The world’s largest themed resort hotel in the world – The Palace of the Lost City – is found in South Africa. Surrounding the Palace is a 25 hectare manmade botanical jungle with almost 2 million plants, trees and shrubs.

South Africa is extremely rich in mining and minerals and considered the world’s leader with nearly 90% of all the platinum metals on earth and around 41% of all the world’s Gold!

South Africa is home to the oldest meteor scar in the world – the Vredefort Dome in a town called Parys. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The South African Rovos Rail is considered the most luxurious train in the world.

South Africa is home to the highest commercial bungi jump in the world at 710 feet

Despite the country’s status as a democratic republic, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has a monarchy, specially provided for by the Constitution.

Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu is the King of the Zulu Nation, has 27 kids and 6 wives and lives, literally, like a King!

There are more than 2000 shipwrecks off the South African coast, most dating back at least 500 years.

The oldest remains of modern humans were found in South Africa and are well over 160,000 years old.

The Karoo region in the Western Cape is home to some of the best fossils of early dinosaurs. In fact, it is estimated that some 80% of the mammalian fossils found to date were found in the Karoo.

SA has three capital cities: Pretoria is the Executive Capital, Cape Town the Legislative Capital and Bloemfontein the judicial Capital.


Incredibly, this country is home to the largest bird (ostrich), largest land mammal (elephant), tallest animal (giraffe), smallest succulent (10 millimetres), heaviest flying bird (khori bustard), largest fish (whale shark), largest antelope (eland), largest tree (baobab), fastest land mammal (cheetah), largest reptile (leatherback turtle), and smallest mammal (least dwarf shrew).

Vilakazi Street in Soweto was the residential address of two Nobel Peace Prize winners – Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

South Africa has 80% of the rail infrastructure of Africa.

This country is home to the longest wine route in the world, the Cape Route 62 (or R62), which is about 1 000 kilometres long and beautifully scenic.

South Africa is the largest producer of macadamia nuts in the world.

The country is five times the size of Japan and three times the size of Texas.

South Africa is a treasure trove for archaeologists and palaeontologists as it has produced some of the world’s oldest and most valuable fossils to date.

About a fifth of the world’s gold hails from the mines of South Africa.

South Africa is home to eight World Heritage Sites:

  1. Robben Island
  2. The Cape Floristic Region
  3. The Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs fossil hominid sites.
  4. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  5. The Ukhahlamba / Drakensberg Park
  6. We host the largest individually-timed cycling race in the world, the Cape
  7. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape
  8. Vredefort Dome (the oldest meteor scar in the world)

Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant in the world in 1967. This took place at the renowned Groote Schuur Hospital.

Lesotho is a country that is surrounded entirely by South African borders.

There are more wildlife species in the Kruger National Park than anywhere else on the African continent.

South Africa boasts 90% of the platinum metals on earth.

Mossel Bay, which is in the Western Cape and along the beautiful Garden Route, has the second-most moderate climate of any other city or country in the world.

Some of the most exciting sporting events that have been hosted in South Africa include:

  • 1995 Rugby World Cup,
  • 2003 Cricket World Cup,
  • 2005 and 2006 Women’s World Cup of Golf
  • 2006 inaugural A1 GP
  • World Cup of Motorsport
  • 2009 IPL Cricket
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • 1995 Rugby World Cup
  • 2003 Cricket World Cup
  • 2005 and 2006 Women’s World Cup of Golf
  • 2006 inaugural A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport
  • 2009 IPL Cricket
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup

Bloukrans Bridge is the highest commercial bungy jump in the world and is situated along the Garden Route. It is an impressive 216 metres high.

Rooibos tea has become a worldwide favourite for its fresh taste and excellent health properties. It is only grown in a small region (in the Cederberg) of South Africa and has to be exported in massive quantities from here.

There are about 900 different avian species in South Africa, which represents around 10% of the bird species of the world.

The magnificent Tugela Falls are the second-highest on the globe, measuring some 850 metres (or 2 789 feet).

Nelson Mandela is known by six different names in South Africa. At birth, he was named Rolihlahla Mandela.

The world’s largest visible crateris in South Africa. Around 2,030 million years ago a meteor the size of a mountain (about 10km across) fell to earth in South Africa’s Free State making a crater 300km across; it is the oldest crater made by either a comet or meteorite and reportedly the site of the largest energy release in history.

A South African fish migration is so huge it can be seen from space. Between May and July every year millions of small silver fish travel in vast shoals from the cold waters off South Africa’s Cape Point up to the coastlines of the northern Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal.

South Africa has three capital cities – Cape Town (Legislative), Pretoria (Administrative) and Bloemfontein (Judicial).

There are nine provinces in total:

  1. Western Cape
  2. Eastern Cape
  3. ZwaZulu-Natal
  4. Northern Cape
  5. Free State
  6. North West
  7. Gauteng
  8. Mpumalanga
  9. Limpopo


Bones found in South Africa help support the theory that modern humans originated in Africa.

For nearly 50 years, there was a state of apartheid – white minority rule – in South Africa.

In 1994 Nelson Mandela was voted in as the first black president of South Africa; 27 April is now celebrated annually as Freedom Day.

The national animal of South Africa is the Springbok, the only southern African gazelle.

There are 11 official languages in South Africa:

  1. isiZulu
  2. Afrikaans
  3. isiXhosa
  4. siSwati
  5. Sesotho
  6. Xitsonga
  7. Sepedi
  8. isiNdebele
  9. Setswana
  10. Tshivenda­
  11. English

Almost 80 percent of South Africa’s population is Christian; the other 20 percent is made up of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and other religions.

South Africa, in 2006, was the first African country and the fifth country in the world to recognise same sex marriage.

South Africa hosts the world’s largest bicycle race. The 35,000 riders taking part in the 109-km Cape Town Cycle Tour race across Cape Town’s south peninsula and along the spectacular, mountainous coastal road called Chapman’s Peak Drive.

The world’s largest diamond was found in the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa on 25 January 1905. The 3,106-carat stone weighed 1.33 pounds and was called the ‘Cullinan’ after the owner of the mine.

The world’s second largest brewing company is in South Africa. SABMiller was founded as South African Breweries in 1895.

The first successful heart transplant was carried out in a Cape Town hospital – by Dr Christiaan Barnard on 3 December 1967.

South Africa has one of the world’s most luxurious trains. Up to 72 passengers can travel in lavish wood-panelled Rovos trains; the Royal Suites occupy half a carriage and have full-sized bathrooms, separate shower, permanent double bed and two armchairs.

Wine estate house on Route 62 south africa
Wine estate house on Route 62, South Africa

South Africa travel inspiration: 13 Reasons to visit South Africa

South Africa is home to the second highest waterfall in the world, the Tugela Falls. The total drop is 948 metres (3110 ft.) in five consecutive leaps, of which the longest uninterrupted leap is 411 metres (1350 ft.).

The most famous place to visit and see penguins is in Boulders beach, close to Simon’s town, south of Cape Town.


African penguin South Africa Boulders
Boulders Beach, South Africa

With over 6 million trees, Johannesburg is considered to have the “largest man-made forest” in the world. Since the area of Johannesburg was originally grassland, all the trees were planted to provide wood for the growing mine
The world’s oldest and largest one day ultra-marathon is run in the province of Kwazulu Natal over a distance of 89 km between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The Comrades Marathon started in 1921 as a commemoration of the south african soldiers killed during the first world war. The participants have 12 hours to complete the marathon, for a medal.
The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world, but considered to be the largest “green” one. It is a real natural wonder in South Africa.. The best way to visit and view the canyon is via the Panorama route on your way to the Kruger National Park.

blyde river canyon south africa natural wonders
Blyde River Canyon

The naturally caffeine-free Rooibos tea (Redbush) only grows in the Cederberg area in the Western Cape province.

Interesting facts about Mauritius

The extinct Dodo is the islands national animal and has only ever been found on Mauritius.

Mauritius does not have an army.

The highest point on the island of Mauritius is Mont Piton which stands at 828m above sea level. Mont Piton is 250m lower than Table Mountain in Cape Town.

The national flag of Mauritius represents the Flamboyant Tree in red, the Indian Ocean in blue, the sunshine in yellow, and the vegetation of the island in green.

Mauritian beach, Trou Aux Biches was awarded with the world’s best beach destination award in 2011.

Mauritius is the only country in Africa to have a majority of Hindu followers.

Bruno Julie was the winner of the first Olympic medal for the country in 2008 after winning bronze in boxing.